The coming weekend the entire motorsports world will be focused on the town of Le Mans, in France, for the 2023 edition of the famous 24-hour endurance race. In what is a centennial year for the legendary event, Yema will be lining up on the starting grid (proverbially speaking) with the Alpine Endurance Team. To celebrate the collaborative efforts between the two outfits, a special collection of five watches has been launched. Three of which are meca-quartz, and two are fully mechanical. And as you come to expect from us, we focus on mechanical only, as we present you the Yema Rallygraf A470 Limited Edition, one of the two collaborative watches.
The french connection
It’s not really a coincidence Yema and Alpine are teaming up as both are rooted in France. The historical name of Yema is tied to Morteau, a city close to the Swiss border that’s also home to the Lycée Edgar Faure, the watchmaking school. Alpine has a history that dates back to the mid-1950s, as it started to modify and race Renault 4CVs. Over time it also produced cars under its own name, most notably the Alpine A110. At the height of the fuel crisis in the 1970s, the company was bailed out of bankruptcy by Renault. This proved a turning point for Alpine, as it now could focus on new targets with Renault’s backing, including a win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The company achieved its goals by winning the 1978 edition with the formidable Renault-Alpine A442B.
Fast forward to the present day and Alpine has been revived as a marque in 2007, and a recreation of the A110 would see the light of day in 2017. Renault also took the name racing again, and it’s active in Endurance Racing and Formula 1. You could consider Alpine the performance branch of the Renault brand, to put it in perspective. The Alpine Endurance Team is lining up for this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans with the A470 prototype racer under LMP2 regulations. This Saturday and Sunday we can keep a close eye on the team’s performance, with the 91st running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Yema Rallygraf A470 Limited edition
Naturally, when such a partnership is presented, a watch comes along with it. In this case, only one for the time being, despite five watches being announced by Yema. Three of these are left out of the equation for us as they rely on meca-quartz movements, and a fourth model is only fully revealed on Saturday, June 10th (more on that one in a bit).
What remains to discuss is the retro-cool Yema Rallygraf A470 Limited Edition, based on the historic racing chronograph from the 1970s. This uses a 39mm wide stainless steel case fitted with a fixed tachymeter bezel and a height of 12mm, not including the double-domed sapphire crystal. The solid caseback shows the Alpine Endurance Team logo and the limitation of the watch. The crown is flanked by two classical pump-style pushers.
The dial is finished in a gradient-blue colour, with a vintage dashboard-inspired bicompax layout. Blue has long been the signature colour of Alpine, so it makes perfect sense to use that in the watch. The applied indices and hands all have a dose of Super-LumiNova for better night-time visibility. The left subdial shows the running seconds, while the right one shows the chronograph minutes.
Yema has gone for the Valjoux 7753 automatic chronograph to power the Rallyrgaf A470. This runs at a frequency of 28,800vph and delivers 48 hours of power reserve. The watch comes on a black leather rally strap with a steel pin buckle. Limited to 470 pieces, tying in with the car, it can be pre-ordered for a price of USD 2,190 with delivery expected in September 2023.
Quick Facts – 39mm x 12mm (without the crystal) – stainless steel case, brushed & polished – fixed tachymeter steel bezel – double domed sapphire crystal – solid caseback with Alpine logo – 100m water-resistant – gradient blue bicompax ‘dashboard’ dial – applied indices & hands with Super-LumiNova – Valjoux 7753, automatic – 28,800vph – 48h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph with minutes and central seconds – black leather rally strap with pin buckle – limited to 470 pieces – USD 2,190
Yema Rallygraf Alpine Endurance Team Automatic
Yema also announced a second mechanical watch made in collaboration with Alpine, the Rallygraf Alpine Endurance Team Automatic. This will officially be unveiled this coming Saturday at the Circuit de la Sarthe, so during the racing weekend of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Although we don’t know all the details at this moment, we can share it’s made of stainless steel, comes on a multi-link bracelet or black leather strap and has a black dial. The bidirectional rotating bezel can be used to calculate speeds, in combination with the inner ‘Temps Ecoule’ flange in white and blue. It is powered by the in-house Calibre YEMA2000 and will cost USD 990. No further details are shared as of now.